JP On Gaming

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

[Review] Five Great Stores where you can play

Everyone has their own favorite store. This list is slightly different in that I wanted to list places I got to play I particularly loved to do so. You know, us gamers are creatures of habit and where we play feels like a second home where we create legends for ourselves.

This list is a mixed list with some places I associate more with table top RPGs, while others I spend most time war gaming.

While making this list, I noticed that each place rated so high because of an experience or a particular story.

To qualify for the list, the store must have room to play and actively welcomed outside games or gaming-related activities on-site, inside the store.

The list is in alphabetical order for simplicity. All these places are great.

Honorable mentions

These stores were taken off the list because they either closed, changed, or barely failed to make the cut.

Le Donjon, Montreal and Québec City, QC, Canada It is with great sadness that I heard about the demise of the Donjon store. At one point, they were a powerhouse in gaming. They were the first to offer in-store gaming in Montreal. Before them, you went to the store, bought stuff and left. The Donjon allowed for the creation of a community. They also had a number of interesting goodies, like second-hand material. Do you know how awesome it is when you are starting to build an army and you can buy a bunch of space marines on the cheap? Later on when I lived in Quebec City, the gang there was really special.

Games Workshop, Dublin, Ireland Website Now there was a time when there were no gaming stores in Dublin. There was only the Games Workshop. I spent many a Sunday there, trying out new armies or playing with any newcomers. As I had a few armies in those days, and I only played with painted stuff, the staff were lenient with me. I helped them sell games while playing a game I loved.

Moonlite Comics, Frankfort, KY, USA When Jay sold the store, things changed. First off I left for Tennessee (no Chad, I do not regret the move), but the new owners took the store in different directions, focusing more on video games. They also moved across the strip mall, which took away some of its charm. The store is still there, but the attachment I felt for the place has gone. Now, the new place is nice and clean, and will patron it again next time I'm in town.

Enchanted Grounds, Denver, CO, USA

Website My relation with Enchanted Ground start way back around 2006-07 or so, during the days of Living Greyhawk. It was a starting coffee shop with gaming stuff for sale. I thought it was a "fine" place. Good price, good coffee, good people.

It was not until the began to run Pathfinder Society in September of 2009 that this place joined this list for me. Jeff and his crew did a stellar job offering a multitude of games, and they still do so. I mean where can you get all you can drink coffee AND play with great GMs? This is an awesome place. They opened a second location after I left Colorado, of which I get feedback that it is as positive as the original one.

I got my fifth PFS GM star there, with a table of local all-stars. So this place is indeed filled with good memories.

Gaming and coffee? I mean brilliant business plan.

Games Workshop, Paris St-Michel, France

Website This one has a special place in my heart. It was the winter of 2000. The store arranged for a week-long "tournament"/event wherein players would play at the store during the week against a random opponent. Anyone who won was invited to the finals on Saturday. So there I was, Canadian guy showing up with his Fleur-de-Lys covered vanilla chapter space marine with units of scouts. I could see them chuckle behind me as I deployed my army. They put me up against one of the stores toughest and best player. I knew my army and its strength. When he got tabled (after a tough match-up, this was no cake walk), the store was quiet. The store owner invited me to come in on Saturday and play some more.

Saturday came by and I showed up bright and early. This time, I was matched with a kid who played dark eldar. Again, wiped him out, while giving the kid advice on how to beat me (which went against the advice his friends gave him).At that point, the store crew began to pay attention to me as more than just a tourist and they asked me to help referee other games before being matched against a Dark Angel player who scoffed at my lack of lascannons. I destroyed most of his army in the closest match thus far. By then, it was clear to everyone that this Canadian guy with his flag and blue marines was no joke. I lost in the final because of my mistake of focusing on the wraith lord when I should have killed the rest of his army. But still I showed that I was good.

From that day, until my departure for Ireland, the crew welcomed me every time I stopped by. They asked me to provide advice and insight to the younger players and help their parents make good choices. I make a point to stop there whenever I am in Paris.

Gamers' Haven, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Website The Haven is a place I frequented every week from the time they moved to their current location all the way until I left Colorado. The gang there is awesome and their model of "People who see people play want to buy". It works. I spent so much money there, well-spent shall I add. Rob and Troy are just awesome guys, who know their business, their products, and their customers. Everyone who works there is like that. This is a gamer store for gamers.

I ranked GH as my favorite store in this post for reasons that still stands.

Griffon Feerique, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Website In the same post, the Griffon ranked second. This is a place where you can play, where I learned to paint miniatures, where I bought my first 40k models. Many of which I still own.

Great gang there, miss 'em.

Petrie Family Games, Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Website Petrie's started off as a small shop I could see from my house. I did not pay too much attention to it initially, but after going there a few times for their events, I really liked its laid back, friendly, and as the name says family-focused approach. Like one year, they had Santa come over. The picture I took with the kids is still on the family fridge.

Cam has always been super supportive to me as an independent game publisher and writer, something I was always very grateful for. Of all the stores on this list, Petrie's is the only one that I felt the kids could come and enjoy themselves. At the same time, adults could participate in events there and enjoy themselves too. All night gaming? Yes, this is the place!

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